The effects of the Martian atmosphere on an optical communication link are analyzed using Mariner 9, Viking Orbiter, and Viking Lander data. Clouds are found to have minimal effect because of their scarcity and thinness. Dust (from dust storms) has the dominant impact on opacity. However, periods of reduced visibility are infrequent and more closely resemble the effects of thin clouds on the earth. A simple argument is presented which suggests that the Martian atmosphere has fewer turbulence related effects (i.e., Mars has better resolution, lower image wander, and less scintillation) than the best of the earth's ground based locations.